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REPORT | Belles 2 Chorley 1

10 December 2023


REPORT | Belles 2 Chorley 1

10 December 2023

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The Belles saw out 2023 with a 2-1 triumph over Chorley to mark Ciaran Toner’s first league game in charge with a victory.

Skipper Jess Tugby-Andrew netted a stunning strike from 35 yards to put the Belles in front on the 3G pitch at the Eco-Power Stadium. 

The visitors equalised in the second half but the Belles shook off the setback with Jasmine Saxton netting a deserved winner. 

They now head into the Christmas break with Toner able to focus on continuing to implement his methods on the training ground, before returning to action against Leeds United on January 7. 

The Irishman will have been pleased with the start made by his side as they took the game to Chorley from the early stages. 

Lindsey Tugby-Andrew put in a crunching tackle to set Hannah McWilliams in on goal but she fired wide. 

Jess Tugby-Andrew put in a vital sliding challenge after recovering well before Chorley tested Belles keeper Ellie Sharpe for the first time with a shot straight at her. 

Chances were hard to come by for both sides until Lindsey Tugby-Andrew saw a shot deflected into the arms of the visiting keeper. 

But the Belles did not have to wait long for the opener when Jess Tugby-Andrew smashed a 35 yard free kick in off the crossbar for a goal of the season contender with 35 minutes on the clock. 

The Belles controlled the tempo for the remainder of the half and went into the interval ahead. 

Returning from the break, the Belles wasted no time in getting on the front foot and had a glorious opportunity early in the half. 

Chorley threw all they had at keeping the ball out of their goal as Saxton saw a header from a corner blocked before Lindsey Tugby-Andrew saw her low drive denied. 

But Chorley were not about to roll over and, after going close with a free kick, they found the leveller just after the hour mark. 

A floated corner was headed back across goal and towering centre half Isabelle Wade nodded home. 

Saxton saw a curling effort batted away after cutting inside as the Belles got straight back on the front foot. 

Lindsey Tugby-Andrew fired agonisingly wide of the post from the edge of the box, but moments later sent in a delivery that was nodded down by Jess Tugby-Andrew into the path of Saxton who drilled through a crowded box to put the Belles back in front on 75 minutes. 

McWilliams drew another good save from the Chorley keeper before Mollie Barlow flicked the ball across the face of goal as the Belles sought to extend their advantage. 

Chorley rallied late and there was a nervous moment late on as a bicycle kick flew just over the bar but the Belles held on for the victory. 

Belles: Sharpe, Rattenbury (Broadhurst 71), J. Tugby-Andrew, Housley, R. Johnson, Gigg, Abadi, McWilliams, Saxton, L. Tugby-Andrew, Mortimer (Barlow 46). Subs: Banaszczyk, Sneddon, P. Johnson. 

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